THE WINNER: The Cock Queen, real name unknown.
Never in my life have I regretted not carrying a blanket more than I did last Friday at the Air Sex World Championships, held at the Middle East Upstairs. I could have thrown it over those contestants whose gyrations brought shame upon themselves and me. Failing that, I could have wrapped it around my head, blinding myself to that which now I can never unsee.
I'll admit it: my horror was disproportionate. After all, I was watching an event dedicated to the art of humping the air. Chris Trew, an Austin-based comedian with a prodigiously bushy beard, tours the country encouraging people to do just that. In addition to being the emcee of the Air Sex Championships, Trew could be the Marcel Marceau of air sex. His fluttering hands and gently thrusting hips brought nuance and precision to an otherwise garish night.
For a while, it seemed as if that night would never get underway. Though a judge stood at the door with a handwritten cardboard sign encouraging people to sign up, few did. This gave me and my guest the opportunity to get a good look at the crowd.
"It looks like AccountantCon in here," my friend remarked, noting a concentration of khaki and button-down shirts rarely seen at the Middle East. We immediately noticed several men in their 40s and 50s loping through the crowd. For reasons unknowable, though possibly genetic, they all congregated around one of the support beams near the stage; we dubbed it the Pervert Pole.
An hour and a half after the doors opened, Trew announced that, for the first time in Air Sex Championship history, he would allow people to sign up after the competition began.
To the delight of the Pole, the show finally began. Several audience members whipped out their Flip cams.
Each contestant chose a song to accompany their routine, as well as a stage name. There was one high-art reference (Penis DeMilo), one nod to Don Ho (Tiny Bubbles), and two stage names with Native American flair (Pocacuntis, Indian Cock).
Midway through the game, a young, tidily dressed gentleman by the name of Diamond Dave took the stage. He snaked along the stage to the theme from Mission: Impossible, appearing to fellate invisible partners he found in invisible safes. The judges gave him excellent marks; the crowd went wild. He was disqualified from the finals when he brought two friends onstage to form a human centipede. Diamond Dave was robbed.
The most ambitious performance of the night belonged to a bespectacled fellow who called himself the Turkey Chef. He humped an air-turkey in a somewhat confused routine, to the tune of the Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant."
The blanket-worthy parts of the evening were more plentiful. A boisterous couple attempted to enact Internet porn. A drunk woman fell over onstage, mid air-coitus. A drag queen blew her cover during a particularly athletic rendition of "Just Dance."